Monday, December 06, 2010

Turn Out The Lights...

Once upon a time, there were three guys who made football-watching great fun, because they perfectly blended together; Howard Cosell, that pompous so-and-so; the ever-too-serious Frank Gifford, and "Dandy" Don Meredith, who added levity to the general chaos that could only be described as Monday Night Football. Don Meredith passed away today; another member of the Great Original Monday Night Football team is gone. Since Meredith left ABC, he stayed out of the limelight. I wondered what had become of him over the years. He felt his time as a "star" had run its course. So he left. And that was that.
Whenever a game resulted in an awful one-sided blowout, and there was no possibility that one team would win against the other, the by-now-familiar refrain always graced the airwaves; "Turn Out The Lights, The Party's Over" with Dandy Don supplying the vocals. As a fan, I almost feel like a charter-member of the Viewers of Monday Night Football Club; that's how long I've been watching (on an on-again, off-again basis, to be sure), and No Other Monday Night football lineup was as good as the Original Three. An Example: Considering This Year's Monday Night team, if I hear former coach John Gruden call former quarterback Ron Jaworski "Jaws" One More Time, I'm gonna Dropkick My TV!!!!! That's an awful nickname, and if I were Jaworski, I'd Drop-Kick John Gruden. He needs it. Dandy Don, Come Back! Pleeease.....

(Photo above, the original Monday Night Football lineup, left to right: Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, and Frank Gifford.)
Don Meredith was a quarterback, and a mighty good one from all accounts. Back before the Super Bowl was invented, he twice led his Dallas Cowboys to the NFL's championship game. He evidently played hurt a lot of the time, and he evidently was One of The Greats. That was before I watched a lot of football, so I remember him more as a broadcaster, more than anything. He had fun on the Monday Night telecasts, and because he did, we all did. Meredith was so good, he could even shut down Howard Cosell, which would be a gargantuan task for anyone else.
During halftime of tonight's Patriots/Giants game (in which the Patriots have played like a team possessed), Mike Tirico talked to Dandy Don's longtime broadcast partner, Frank
Gifford. Frank said he'd "seen Meredith recently and he was hurting", and he couldn't continue, coming close to breaking down on camera. I think a lot of us feel that way.

Turn out the lights...


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